The teen birth rate is way down thanks to more birth control, study says


The number of teenagers giving birth in the U.S. fell dramatically between 2007 and 2012, and now researchers think it's because teens are using more, and more effective birth control. 

According to the study, "Understanding the Decline in Adolescent Fertility in the United States," published this week in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the rate of teenagers giving birth has actually been going down down since the early 1990s, with the exception of a brief period from 2005 to 2007. And, between the years 2007 and 2012, the rate of 15- to 19-year olds giving birth in the U.S. dropped at an annual rate at 5.6%.

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And it's not because teens are having less sex — they aren't. Rather, they're using more "highly effective methods" of contraception, like IUDs, birth control pills and injections. 

But, considering the history of contraception access in the U.S., even a study with results as clear-cut as this one may not convince people who want to deny teens access to birth control. In 2015, a state-wide Colorado initiative that had proved to be effective in reducing teen pregnancy by providing "free or reduced-price IUDs or implantable birth control" was defunded after Republican legislators voted to end it, reported USA Today.

Charles Dharapak/AP

Despite increasingly clear benefits of giving teens access to reliable birth control, there are plenty of places in the U.S. where students aren't even allowed to learn about contraceptive options in school thanks to abstinence only sex education. Unsurprisingly, a 2011 study found a correlation between states with high rates of teenage pregnancy and states with abstinence-only education. 

So while the best way to reduce teen pregnancy seems to be continuing to educate young people about contraception, it would seem some would prefer the old way. Like robot babies. 

And we know how well that worked out.